There are places to meet friends for drinks ... and then there are bars, my friends. Places where the drink is the thing, and the goal is drunk.
That in mind, there are some TV bars where you just wouldn't want to be, like Rosie's from M.A.S.H. (bad booze near the front of the Korean conflict) or the Bronze from Buffy (tough to drink and quip and fight vampires all at the same time), or Archie Bunker's Place (where you have to put up with Archie Bunker). And then there are the bars where the booze isn't the main focus, such as the Bada-Bing! from The Sopranos (topless dancers), 90210's Peach Pit After Dark or Melrose Place's Shooters (looking pretty while snorting coke) or Star Trek: TNG's Ten-Forward (showcasing Whoopie Goldberg).
Fortunately, there are a lot of watering holes on the other side of the spectrum--joints where you'd love to spend quality time with a small shot glass, a chaser of beer, and the infinite possibilities inherent in draining them over and over again.
So hoist your glasses, grab your remote, and don't forget to tip your waitresses.
Just out of the top ten: Phil's (Murphy Brown), Danny's Place (Quincy, M.E.)
10. Isaac's Bar, The Love Boat
If you're on The Love Boat, you're going to need drinks. Strong drinks. This place is lousy with broken hearts, sappy love stories, and faded stars. And, you know, Gopher. Good thing Isaac makes a mean Mai-Tai, even if he is the only bartender on the Pacific Princess.
9. The Boar's Nest, Dukes of Hazzard
Okay, so there's a down side: Boss Hogg owns the place (which explains the name, at least), and has an office in the back where he hatches plans and lets Roscoe P. Coletrane giggle. But this Dukes of Hazzard roadhouse has two major assets: Daisy Duke and her ... considerable waitressing skills. Oh, and also the jugs of moonshine on every table and in the trunk of every car.
8. McLaren's, How I Met Your Mother A relative newcomer to TV's drinking scene, this bar from How I Met Your Mother has distinguished itself by offering not only an impressive average of nine flashbacks per character per half-hour, but also the ability to apparently reserve the exact same four-top booth in a crowded New York bar. Better yet, these are not characters that nurse their drinks, or choose the hang in a quaint coffee shop with fluffy couches and scones. These are drinkers, pure and simple.
7. The Warsaw, The Drew Carey Show
Drinking was such a part of The Drew Carey Show that this blue-collar Cleveland bar felt like an extension of the characters' homes: living room, kitchen, bathroom down the hall, Warsaw. And it nearly was: Oswald and Lewis lived in the apartment above the bar, and Mimi and Steve bought the house right next door. That's some serious and admirable dedication to beer.
6. The Drunken Clam, Family Guy
Once known as "St. Elmo's Clam," this Quahog staple of drink is usually just referred to by patrons as "the Clam." Not to be confused with the Fuzzy Clam, which is a nude bar down the way a bit, or Ye Olde Pube, which Peter built in his basement. But no matter the name, no matter the competition, the regulars keep returning to this tavern -- including God himself, trolling for barflies.
5. The Smiling Goat, Ed
Ah, Stuckeyville. If there was more than a snack bar in the Stuckeybowl, the Smiling Goat might have had some serious competition. But instead, it's the go-to place to wine, dine, and charm the freakin' pants off that girl you fruitlessly crushed on in high school. So long as you have about four years to close the case, that is. 4. Regal Beagle, Three's Company
There's a reason that Jack, Janet, and Chrissy hung out here: because it was awesome. Theme? The Regal Beagle doesn't need any stinking theme. So what if they have orange striped wallpaper and low-hanging lumber beams and about six shades of red all over the place? This was where it was at, man. Think about it: if open-shirt Larry could get some here, even Mr. Furley's got a shot. That's got to have something to do with the strength of those margaritas. 3. Moe's, The Simpsons
Where else can you get a Flaming Moe, hear stupendous prank calls, and drink Duff Beer until you resemble Barney Gumble? Yes, it's Moe's, Springfield's dankest watering hole. It's the sort of place that's the antithesis to the home-spun bar--where everybody knows your name but no one really cares. The sort of place that can honestly inspire this line: "Here's to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems."
2. The Brick, Northern Exposure: What is there to do in Cicily, Alaska after dark? Lots, actually. You and Chris could share a beer and explore the relationship of Sartre to Spider Man. With Ed, you could discuss the juxtaposition of the films of Ingmar Bergman and Keanu Reeves. Or belly up to the bar and join in that debate between Maurice and Holling about how AARP politics has completely ruined professional hockey. And all of that happens in one place, where all cultures seem to converge: The Brick. It's a bar, it's a restaurant, it's a state of mind -- a place where pretty much the entire town congregates to put the world in context and to drink to excess to forget how freakin' cold it is. And I haven't even mentioned Maggie -- if there were ever two reasons not to leave Alaska, Dr. Fleischman, they were Maggie and The Brick. Not necessarily in that order. 1. Cheers, Cheers
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Okay, you knew this was going to be number one. But here's the thing: it should be. As great as the Brick is, it's not completely about the booze. Cheers is. Oh, sure, there's some fun to be had, some friends to make into a surrogate family, blah, blah, blah. But really, sometimes you don't give a crap if anyone knows your name. You just want a drink. And Cheers was cool with that. You could sit in the corner booth near the piano and just drink until you were sick. Cheers was hardcore. The regulars spent seemingly every night there, often until closing time, ignoring their home lives (or the fact that they didn't have one, Cliff). They drank to excess every night, whether or not they were a failed accountant or a renowned psychiatrist. It seems almost cliché to put Cheers at the top of the list, but it's there for a reason: it deserves to be. Bottoms up folks: you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.